On the day the federal government reported a record 3.3 million Americans had filed for unemployment and as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases grew to the tens of thousands, Fox & Friends host Ainsley Earhardt bravely gave voice to the real victims of this crisis: consumers who can no longer access salon services.
On Thursday, Earhardt began by saying that America is moving in the right direction in dealing with the spread of COVID-19, but quickly qualified the unsubstantiated statement by adding, “hopefully.”
“Every day, we’re talking about different topics, because we’re moving in, hopefully, the direction of getting where China is now, or South Korea is now, and just getting some improvement,” Earhardt said.
The host spoke about some of the inconveniences she’s faced while deciding not to return to her home in New York City, which has become the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, like mail and “bills stacking up at my apartment, we gotta think about those things.” Earhardt continued, “If you bought clothing before all this happened if you want to return it, are stores gonna waive that 30-day period where you can get your money back?”
Earhardt then spoke about the hardship her friends have endured by the inconvenience of business closures.
“This is not a priority, but women have to get their hair done. I saw someone tweet out, you’re going to see what color our real hair is, because our roots are going to grow in. All my friends are saying — this is not a priority, people are dying, and I realize that — but they can’t get their nails done,” she said.
Earhardt decided to champion a cause that is real. But instead of focusing on those who are being hit with job losses and businesses having to close in the salon industry, she voiced her concerns about the services “all of her friends” are missing out on.
“all my friends are saying you know, this is not a priority, people are dying and i realize that, but they can’t get their nails done” pic.twitter.com/UnkqFdvvmp
— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) March 26, 2020
The activities Earhardt discussed — along with others luxuries like going to a gym — have obvious mental and physical benefits during this difficult time. But the frame through which Earhardt and her cohosts view the shutdown is revealing about whom the Fox and Friends hosts count as their friends. At a time when U.S. unemployment claims are shattering the all-time record, the hosts focused on people for whom the health of the economy is a question of access to convenience and luxury, not of paying rent or keeping food on the table. That may help explain why the program’s hosts and guests are so consistently oblivious to the reality of living in poverty in the United States.
Discussing convenience and luxury is all the more absurd when you broaden your view past economics to the health consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.
Hours before Earhardt shared her hair and nail thoughts, the New York Times released a harrowing video of a doctor inside an emergency room in Elmhurst, Queens in New York City. Dr. Colleen Smith told the Times that she hears “from leaders of various offices from the president [Trump] to the head of [NYC] Health of Hospitals saying things like, ‘We’re going to be fine. Everything is fine.’” Smith continued, “And from our perspective, everything is not fine. I don’t have the support that I need. And even just the materials, that I need physically to take care of my patients.”
“And it’s America. And we’re supposed to be a first-world country,” Smith added.
If Fox News weren’t constantly cheerleading for President Trump, a quote like Smith’s might lead every program on the flag-waving network. But instead, viewers get to hear about the small inconveniences caused by a pandemic that is affecting the hosts and their friends.